Wagoner, Okla., coach Dale Condict said the only thing common about Gus Jones, his star linebacker, might be his name. Both on and off the field, the 6-foot-2, 211-pound inside linebacker is anything but ordinary.
"People are drawn to him," Condict said. "He's a great leader. He's got a very good personality. He's the type of guy if you put a jersey on him and send him downtown to raise some money, he'd come back with more than you'd ever imagine.
"He's a good kid."
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And he's one heck of a linebacker, also.
Jones already has drawn written scholarship offers from North Carolina, Missouri, Texas Tech and Wyoming. Kansas, Kansas State, Arkansas, and Iowa State are also interested and have indicated offers might not be too far away.
"We sent out about 30 films to schools that he had some interest in," Condict said. "Almost immediately we started to get calls back. John Blake wanted to know how tall he is. We told him, and he said he was going to show the film right away to Butch Davis.
"He then called me back and said an offer is on the way. It came, and it's kind of been the same story with the other schools. They see it and they love him."
"I think he has great instincts," Condict said. "He's got a real knack for playing the game. He finds an alley to run through and understands the plays a lot quicker than other kids. He's a good sized kid. He's about the right size now – about 6-foot-2 ½ and 215 pounds. He's got real good hits. To play linebacker, you have to really be able to move laterally, and he has that. He's also done well in the weight room for us."
Jones, who is already qualified with a 17 on the ACT and a 2.9 grade-point average, could be a monster by the time he's done in college, his coach predicts.
"He's going to be 235, 240 pounds by the time they're done with him," Condict said. "Throw that in with his 4.63 time in the 40, and boy, he's going to be a good one."
Condict isn't just blowing smoke about Jones. He's coached several Division I players and knows a good one when he sees one.
"It's always difficult when you're comparing one high school kid to another one," Condict said. "He and the guy I have up at Oklahoma, Brandon Crow, were similar in a lot of ways. I was pretty confident Gus was going to be a Division I kid. I just hoped when I mailed the film they'd see the same thing I did.
"I got here at the end of his eighth grade year. I saw him play freshman ball, and he dominated. So we moved him up a little bit as a freshman when we made the state finals. He's gotten better and better every day since. He has the ambition level to go where he wants, and he knows how to get there."
Jones has taken in spring games at Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas and Kansas State. Condict said it doesn't look like one team does hold the lead at this point, but a lot of people around him are rooting for an Arkansas offer to materialize.
"He'd love to get one from them," Condict said. "It's only an hour and half away. I know a lot of people would like Oklahoma to offer, too, but I don't think they're going to since they've got other national kids they can recruit."